Kellogg said Monday that a previously recalled peanut butter-sandwich cracker tested positive for salmonella as a rapidly growing national recall widened to include more companies' peanut snacks because of potential contamination.
Kellogg's Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter is the first product sold to consumers that's known to have tested positive for the salmonella strain initially linked only to peanut butter sold to institutions, such as nursing homes.
The outbreak has led to 474 reported illnesses and may have caused six deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. For every reported illness, dozens go unreported.
Wegmans also recalled some ice cream containing peanut butter.
Kroger said Monday that it is recalling Private Selection Peanut Butter Passion Ice Cream sold in select stores because the peanut butter in the ice cream was supplied by Peanut Corporation of America and may be contaminated with Salmonella. Stores under the following names are included in this recall: City Market, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC and Smith's.
More recalls are likely, given that the Peanut Corporation of America, which earlier recalled the suspect peanut butter and peanut paste, supplied 23 other companies with product that's been recalled. PCA first recalled peanut butter last Tuesday, then Sunday added its peanut paste, an ingredient used by food manufacturers.
The pace of new recall announcements has been slow, some food-safety experts say.
"It's taken a long time for people to sort this out," says Craig Wilson, head of food safety for Costco Wholesale. It pulled some Kellogg products off shelves last week before Kellogg put a hold on them, Wilson says.
The recall has engulfed snack foods popular with children. Salmonella is especially risky for the young, old and those with weaker immune systems. The Food and Drug Administration says peanut butter sold in stores is fine but advised consumers not to eat other products containing peanut butter or paste until they're cleared.
Many big names have said they're not affected, including Mars, Hershey, the Girl Scouts and ConAgra Foods, which recalled peanut butter in 2007.
Kellogg will deploy several thousand sales representatives to help make sure product is removed from stores, it says. "Consumers are confused," says William Marler, a food-safety attorney.
He says he bought recalled product Sunday, indicating that retailers may be confused, too.
Kellogg last week recalled 15 other products. They came up clean, as did the plant making them, says Kris Charles, a spokeswoman.
PCA, based in Lynchburg, Va., says it conducts rigorous salmonella tests and that it's working with the FDA on the contamination source.